Reporter ADAM LORD remembers his dad Simon and how the final days of his life were made more bearable by the work of St John’s Hospice
It was Father’s Day on Sunday.
It’s not a day I relish. Not because I don’t like buying cards, or never got on with my dad, quite the opposite in fact, it’s just one of those reminders that you don’t need after you’ve lost a loved one.
Everyone in my situation will know what I mean.
Little things on a daily basis remind you of a person you miss. Music, sports teams, TV programmes, the lot.
At first, they hurt and are difficult to deal with.
Some things you may even go as far as to avoid watching or listening to. In time however, things get easier.
A brief history. My dad, Simon Harrison Lord, died on the final day of September 2011 at the age of just 54. No age really.
Having originally had successful surgery on a tumour that was discovered around his bile duct, the cancer returned before eventually we got the news we’d been dreading.
It was terminal.
At that stage it’s all pretty hard to comprehend, none more so than for dad, a man who didn’t like fuss or wasn’t particularly comfortable when it came to opening up.
He, we to a degree, battled on and despite having been told he only had weeks to live, things progressed without incident until he deteriorated pretty quickly in the final week of his life.
He passed away on a Friday morning with South Africa against Samoa from the 2011 Rugby World Cup on the TV in his bedroom. You remember things like that.
I digress, however and there’s one fairly important thing I’ve missed out in that brief summary.
One thing that came into my life because of dad’s illness but has never been difficult to acknowledge is St John’s Hospice.
After dad’s condition went downhill from his usual, if a little weak, self, to being unable to communicate or look after himself in a matter of hours, the Hospice at Home team became an ever present in our lives in the best way imaginable.
The decision had been made that he would die at home and the angelic nurses did what I would quickly learn was the norm as they made not only dad comfortable, but eased the burden on mum and I.
I will be forever grateful to them and everyone involved with the Slyne Road charity which is why, having raised £7,000 visiting some 100 plus football grounds with a group of mates in March 2012, I decided I needed to do more.
That is why we find ourselves here, with the Lancaster Guardian and The Visitor trying to raise as much money as possible for what is a vital community resource.
And it’s a resource that needs your support on a daily basis.
You may not think this will affect you and I wouldn’t wish what my family went through on the worst enemy imaginable, but it could.
And if it does you’ll want it to be there.
That’s why this Save Our Hospice appeal was launched back in November - to ensure it is around for future generations.
I had no concept of what it meant for the area until my family’s darkest hours. Days I want to forget but will never be able to.
Anything you can do to help us to help St John’s will go further than you think.
Every penny matters because every family, every wife, every husband, every son, every daughter, every sister and every brother who need the help of the hospice deserve to have what I had, whether it be now, or years in the future.
If you’re organising an event or want to tell us how the hospice has touched your life, call Adam on 01524 385925, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to our websites at www.thevisitor.co.uk or www.lancasterguardian.co.uk.
If you want to donate, visit www.everydayhero.co.uk/event/saveourhospice.
Cheques should be made payable to Save Our Hospice, posted to Save Our Hospice Appeal, St John’s Hospice, Slyne Road, Lancaster, LA2 6ST.
You can hand in cash donations at the hospice main reception with a note saying ‘FAO Save Our Hospice’.